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Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

roberts.jpgSince all the idiot criminals, celebrity lawbreakers, and political dumbasses have seemingly taken the day off to celebrate the life of Gerald Ford (the United States’ greatest unelected President!), we’re forced to start 2007 in a decidedly unglamorous fashion: Federal judge’s salaries.

Indeed, Chief Justice John Roberts devoted the entirety of his year-end report to the issue of meager salaries, which ranges from $165,000 to $212,000 (for the Chief Justice) annually. Roberts argues that the paltry sum restricts the federal judiciary to those who are so wealthy that ballpark $200,000 is meaningless, or to the real scum of the Earth: Those for whom judicial salaries represent an increase in compensation. Roberts writes that the issue of judicial salaries has “reached the level of constitutional crisis” and that the lack of salary increases is “grievously unfair.”

You know what’s unfair, Roberts? Take a look at these average salaries for government-funded occupations, and compare:

Police officer/Detective: $40,196
Sheriffs: $27,924
Public Transportation Attendants: $27,092
Firefighter: $36,764
Teacher: $46,597

Now, lookit Justice Roberts: I understand where you’re coming from. You made a lot of money in the private sector, and your family just wants to maintain its ability to keep its outdoor swimming pool heated all year round. That’s cool. But, think about it, man: The people charged with protecting and educating America are swimming in inflatable pools they had to blow up all by themselves.

But, you know what’s worse than someone who jumps at a federal judiciary position because it represents a jump in pay? Someone who would take a position on the federal bench because of the attendant salary. Because just what we need is some greedy asshole who cares more about how much he or she makes as a federal judge than trying the case.

Roberts argues that the low judicial pay threatens judicial independence. But, maybe the opposite is true: People who accept judicial positions with no concern for money may be less susceptible to accept money for certain verdicts, while people who do accept the position because it is high-paying may be more susceptible to corruption.

In either respect, it doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in the American populace to hear from the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court that, unless he and others in his position are compensated more, their judicial independence will be threatened. Are you trying to say something here, J Rob?